Five years after the arrest of Bernard Madoff and the blowing open of one of the
largest fraud’s perpetrated in history, $4.9 billion of the approximately $17
billion principal (and $64 billion value on paper) which Madoff swindled and
squandered has been recovered and repaid to some of his victims.
level of complexity of the fraud and the sheer breadth of the victims has meant
that many large issues are still up in the air.
After thousands of
lawsuits, two major court cases are still pending – with no clear decision date
– which reportedly could determine the fate of as much as another $7 billion in
recoveries for victims.
An entire industry has sprung up around the
Madoff cases, with the US government’s lead prosecuting trustee earning around
$800 million in legal fees, and ironically in light of the context, investment
funds betting on cases and trading the rights to expected winnings of some
At the same time, the trustee and a variety of parties are
negotiating and determining which victims will not get paid and which will get
“refunded” only part of their losses in light of the impossibility of completely
repaying all victims.
Madoff also broke his silence recently in an
interview with the Wall Street Journal, accusing his investors of knowing that
he was perpetrating fraud on their behalf, but enjoying the strong investment
returns and wanting not to ask hard questions.